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'07 Authors Insider Tips

by Louisa Burton
Formatting Your Manuscript
Scams / Choosing an Agent
Pitching Your Novel...
From The Call to Published...

Hard Business
From Greg Herren
Who Is Telling This Story?
It’s Work, Not A Hobby
Where Ideas Come From

Sexy on the Page
With Shanna Germain
Plotting Erotic Fiction
Seducing Your Muse
Creating Characters...
Description, Action & Dialogue
Fucking on Paper
Ten No-Nos of Erotic Fiction
Climactic Moments: First Draft
Critique Groups
Revising Your Erotic Story
Finding the Perfect Markets...
Just Submit Already
Rejections and Acceptances

Two Girls Kissing
With Amie M. Evans
Verb Tense Confusion
Coming Up with Story Ideas
Attend a Writers’ Conference
The Fundamentals of POV
Should I Sign That?
Etiquette for Authors
Erotica is Serious Work
No Body Writes for Free...
Shameless Self Promotions
The Myth of Writer's Block

The Write Stuff
From Ashley Lister
The Time is Write
The Beautiful People
A Book by Any Other...
Synopsis: the Necessary Evil
Erotica or Porn?
Feedback Whine

2007 Smutters Lounge

Ashley Lister Submits
by Ashley Lister
What's it like being a writer?
An Apology to Salespeople

Get All Worked Up
With J.T. Benjamin
About Secrets
The Perfect Fuck
About Choices
The Age of Consent
The Kingmaker
Kids and Sex
The Price of Beauty
The G.O.P.
All Worked Up About Hate
Real Men

Pondering Porn
With Ann Regentin
Good Sex: A Physics Lesson
Meet Frankenstein
Thoughts on the Orgasm Gap
The Very Bloody Marys
The Doomsday Erection
Online Threesome Porn

Sexy on the Page
by Shanna Germain

Taming Your Triangle:
Revising Your Erotic Story

Shanna Germain When I first began reading erotic fiction (I was too young to be reading it, legally, but the magazines were in the house and they were way more interesting than another go at Brave New World), it seemed there was a lot of mention of "the perfectly cropped triangle of hair" that the women in the stories sported. Often, it was red. Even more often, it was some kind of proof that she was a natural blonde.

Although I was too young then to have this coveted triangle of my own, I'd seen it on other women—almost always, I was surprised to note, of the dark variety, no matter their head color, and almost always way more bushy than the perfectly coiffed triangle the magazines kept talking about. (Without showing my age, I will say this was the '70s, my parents were hippies, and most of the other women I saw naked were in the first edition of The Joy of Sex.)

It was only as I got older that I discovered two truths about triangles: One, they rarely have much in common with one's head color. And two, it is a serious pain in the nether regions to get that patch of hair cropped into anything resembling a triangle, much less the pretty, perky right triangle of my smut-reading youth. If you have any experience trying to tame your own (or someone else's) triangle, then you know exactly what I'm talking about.

Assess, crop, color (if you must), fluff and trim: these are some of the most popular ways to get that triangle of yours into shape. And, guess what? They're also great ways to revise your prose into a pretty, pretty little point that leads your reader right to the goodies.

The Inverted Triangle of Revising and Editing Erotica  

Often I see writers try to revise their stories without a good understanding of how to go about it. They start by editing—namely, checking for typos, moving words around, maybe even changing their characters' names—when they should start by revising (or re-envisioning) their story as a whole.

Working from wide to narrow allows you to first gain the insight that you need to truly understand what you're trying to create. Only then can you begin to make the small tweaks and changes that will bring your prose up to par. By now, you've probably run your story through the critique process, so you have some idea of what needs work. But how do you go about it?

Here is the "inverted triangle" process I use for revising and editing my stories:

Assess This is the first-ditch effort at getting your words into shape. Hold your writing up to the light and take a long, hard look. What is your theme? What do you really, really want to say with this piece of fiction? It's important to at least have a handle on this before you narrow in. Otherwise, you'll spend all your time moving one hair…er…word, from one place to another without any real purpose or direction. This step is what keeps your triangle from turning into a lopsided circle.

This is, for many, the hardest step and I think that's why so many people want to skip it and get right to the nitty gritty. I find it incredibly useful to read the draft of the story and then go do something else—take a walk, wash the dishes—all the while mulling the story over. Am I really trying to retell the myth of Cassiopeia's vanity? Or is this just a story about a woman who likes to get laid beneath the stars? Whatever my answer is, I know that it will affect all the rest of the changes that I make. Because this is such an important step, I often write down what I discover and use it as a template for the rest of the revision process.

Crop Although crop sounds like a small process, it isn't. This is where you take off those big old hunks of things you don't want and don't need. It doesn't matter how good they are. If they don't fit into the story that you want to tell, cut them out. Save them, if you want, for another story, but don't leave them hanging around in this one. 

Refer to the template from the first step to keep the focus on the story theme and ideas.  Say I really am just writing a story of fucking beneath the stars. Changes are good that the beautifully written paragraph about the mythical sea monster from the myth probably has to go. I'll use it for something else, I'm sure, but it doesn't belong here.

Color Not a necessity for your personal triangle (unless you live in a men's magazine in the '70s), but very important to good prose. This is where you take the time to add your special touch, your voice, if you will. This is what makes you sound different from every other erotica writer out there. People talk about voice like it's something you're either born with or your not (natural blonde, anyone?) but I don't believe that. Your voice can be tweaked, honed, lightened and tightened until it's you, only better.

Fluff I don't mean fluff as in "fluff piece," I mean fluff as in filling out the details. Is there anything missing that would add to your story or to your theme? Are there any spots that seem confusing or thin? (Your critique group has probably already pointed these spots out to you, so now's the time to take their well-meaning advice). 
Trim This is, hopefully, the final step. Any odd words, any typos? Any repetition that needs to go? Do a search for every "and" or every "he," or any other words that you know you overuse. Spell-check. Not just with the mechanical spell-checker, but with your eye. I actually use my ears as well—most word-processing programs allow you to listen to your story being read aloud. If you can stand the mechanical voice, I highly recommend hearing your story. Your ear catches all the little things that the eyes don't.

Now that you've cleaned up your prose and styled it just the way you like it, it's time to show it off to the world. Feeling bashful? Don't be. Just come back next month for my column, "Blind Dating: Finding the Perfect Market for Your Erotica."

Other places to Get Your Coif Done:

Shanna Germain
September 2007

  Get Sexy on the Page with Shanna Germain in ERWA 2007 Archive.

"Sexy on the Page" © 2007 Shanna Germain. All rights reserved.

About the Author: Shanna Germain’s erotic stories have appeared or are scheduled to appear in dozens of publications and anthologies, including Absinthe Literary Review, Aqua Erotica 2, Best American Erotica, Best Bondage Erotica, Best Gay Romance and The Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica.. She is a fiction editor for Clean Sheets and 42Opus, as well as a poetry editor for the American Journal of Nursing. You can see more of her work, erotic and otherwise, on her website,

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'07 Book Reviews


A for Amour / B for Bondage
Review by Ashley Lister

Best Women's Erotica '07
Review by Ashley Lister

The Butcher, The Baker...
Review by Ashley Lister

C is for Coeds
Review by Ashley Lister

Cream: The Best of ERWA
Review by Ashley Lister

Cream: The Best of ERWA
Perceptions by Cervo

Coming Together for the Cure
Review by Lisabet

Review by Ashley Lister

F is for Fetish
Review by Ashley Lister

Got a Minute?
Review by Ashley Lister

He's on Top
Review by Ashley Lister

Love on the Dark Side
Review by Angelika Devlyn

Lust: ...Fantasies for Women
Review by Ashley Lister

The Mammoth Book Vol 6
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Naughty Spanking Stories
Review by Ashley Lister

Quickies 1
Review by Angelika Devlyn

She's on Top
Review by Ashley Lister

Sixteen of the Best
Review by Ashley Lister


Amorous Woman
Review by Lisabet Sarai

The Boss
Review by Angelika Devlyn

Burning Bright
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Call Me By Your Name
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Review by Lisabet Sarai

Review by Ashley Lister

Dark Designs
Review by Ashley Lister

Equal Opportunities
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Review by Angelika Devlyn

Review by Angelika Devlyn

Gothic Blue
Review by Ashley Lister

Review by Ashley Liste

The Lords of Satyr: Nicholas
Review by Helen E. H. Madden

Love Song of the Dominatrix
Review by Angelika Devlyn

Review by Angelika Devlyn

Riding the Storm
Review by Lisabet Sarai

The Silver Collar
Review by Ashley Lister

Review by Ashley Lister

Suite Seventeen
Review by Ashley Lister

Sweet as Sin
Review by Angelika Devlyn

Tiffany Twisted
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Top of Her Game
Review by Angelika Devlyn

Whalebone Strict
Review by Ashley Lister

Wife Swap
Review by Gary Russell

Wings of Madness
Review by Angelika Devlyn

Gay Erotica

Historical Obsessions
Review by Erastes

Homosex: 60 Years of Gay...
Review by Erastes

Mammoth Book of New Gay...
Review by Erastes

Review by Lisabet Sarai

Lesbian Erotica

Iridescence:...Lesbian Erotica
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Sex Guides

The Path of Service
Review by Ashley Lister

Secrets of Porn Star Sex
Review by Ashley Lister

Touch Me There
Review by Ashley Lister


Concertina: An Erotic Memoir...
Review by Rob Hardy

Daddy's Girl
Review by Ashley Lister

Dirt for Art's Sake
Review by Rob Hardy

Entangled Lives
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Impotence: A Cultural History
Review by Rob Hardy

I, Goldstein: My Screwed...
Review by Rob Hardy

In Praise of the Whip
Review by Rob Hardy

Insatiable: ...Porn Star
Review by William S. Dean

Letters of a Portuguese Nun
Review by Rob Hardy

Mississippi Sissy
Review by Rob Hardy

Ron Jeremy
Review by Rob Hardy

Virgin: The Untouched...
Review by Rob Hardy

The Year of Yes
Review by Rob Hardy